Pixel Scroll 1/25/16 The Depixellated Man

(1) X-OUT THE X-MEN FAN VIDEO PROJECT. Joel Furtado, an animator from Vancouver, Canada has cancelled his fan film X-men: Danger Room Protocols due to legal issues with Marvel, which prevented the first video in the series from being hosted on YouTube or Vimeo.

Now, there’s word of another fan production falling to legal issues: Joel Furtado’s X-Men: Danger Room Protocols.

Furtado has been working on the web series for a long while now, with eighteen episodes planned to showcase different pairs of 1990s-era X-Men characters in animated adventures against iconic villains in a Danger Room scenario. Furtado told io9 via email: “I’ve always loved X-men since I was a little kid. It was something I gravitated to, reading the comics at that time even before the animated series,” adding, “When Fox’s cartoon came out that was it, I was hooked. I’ve done a few personal projects over the years, but nothing of this scale or scope. I decided I wanted to take a year off and do this thing for myself, as well as the fans. I knew there were X-men fans out there, wanting more than what the official powers that be were giving them.”

The first episode featured Jean Grey and Wolverine against the Sentinels, but was quickly pulled from YouTube. Furtado released it on Vimeo, but the video was pulled from there as well.

Furtado gave a valedictory talk to his supporters in a new video.

(2) USING YOUR POWER. Kameron Hurley was at Confusion over the weekend, and was inspired to write a wisdom-filled post, “On Kindness and Conventions”.

I have argued with authors for years about the power imbalance between authors and fans. By the very fact that you’re an author, that you’ve had worked published, it puts you in a position of perceived power, even if you don’t feel powerful. And what you do with that power is important. But first you need to realize, and accept, that you have it and people have given it to you….

Most importantly, though, when I was out at parties, or in the bar, I opened up the conversation circle to people. This is probably the most important thing you can do at either of these events. There is nothing worse than hanging on outside the circle hoping to try and get someone to invite you in. Here are these people who’ve known each other for years, and you’ve been told to socialize at the bar because it’s so great to network! and all you’re doing is standing outside these circles of people with a drink, feeling stupid….

I have talked a lot of talk over the last decade. It’s my turn to pay it forward, and to help build the community I’d like to see, instead of just complaining about how shitty things are elsewhere.

Because there is no greater joy than seeing the reactions of people who’ve had their first amazing convention, and who tear up all the way home because in a single weekend they’ve found their people, they feel included, they felt like part of something bigger than themselves.

Be the change you want to see, right? I need to act like the author I always wished I would have encountered when I was twenty-one years old at my first convention. Every time I talk to some new person, especially those at their first convention, I imagine that I’m talking to somebody who is going to come up fighting through here just like me. I’m holding out the hand I didn’t get that first time. I’m opening up the circle.

(3) FANFIC. Mindy Klasky’s “F is for Fanfiction” at Book View Café is an overview of the topic for professional writers that raises good questions writers should consider about setting boundaries on the use of their work, however, it was this paragraph that generated all the comments – most disagreeing that one must outgrow fanfic.

Fan fiction might be a great way for an author to exercise writing skills, learning to recreate an established author’s tone and/or using known characters expected to act in specific ways. But if you intend to publish your work, you’ll need to move beyond fanfic. That “moving beyond” should include at least “filing off the serial numbers”, erasing the specific references to character names, locations, and other details.  Thus, Bella Swan from Twilight became Anastasia Steele, and Edward Cullen became Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey. The special world of sparkling vampires became the elite life of a billionaire.

(4) KING CONTEST SHORTLIST. The finalists have been announced in a short story competition to celebrate the publication of Stephen King’s collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. There were more than 800 entries.

A team of dedicated readers carefully selected stories worthy of putting forward to the long list.  20 stories were in serious contention and after due deliberation judges Claire Armitstead (Books Editor at the Guardian), Philippa Pride (Stephen King’s British editor) and Kate Lyall-Grant (our independent judge and Publisher at Severn House Publishers) unanimously chose six stand-out stories for the shortlist.

The judges were extremely impressed by the quality of the six stories which are now on their way to Stephen King.  The winner will be announced on or after 30 January. Watch this space…

Please join us in congratulating the talented authors on the shortlist:

‘The Spots’ by Paul Bassett Davies; ‘The Unpicking’ by Michael Button; ‘Wild Swimming’ by Elodie Harper;  ‘The Bear Trap’  by Neil Hudson; ‘La Mort De L’Amant’ by Stuart Johnstone; ‘Eau de Eric’ by Manuela Saragosa.

(5) THORNTON OBIT. SF Site News reports Kathy Thornton (1957-2016) died on January 16. She was one of the founding members of Con-Troll in Houston and worked on Texas NASFiCs and Worldcons. In 2005, she was the fan Guest of Honor at Apollocon.

Kathy Thornton and Derly Ramirez

(6) CAST IN THE HAT. As Nicole Hill warns, “We Sort the Cast of The Force Awakens into Their Hogwarts Houses” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog is MOSTLY SPOILERS. So no excerpt here. Fun article, though.

(7) LOVECRAFT. Submissions are being taken for the Dunhams Destroys Lovecraft anthology through February 6. What do they mean by the title?

Destroy it all.
Burn the tropes.
Smash the traditions.
The statues.
The awards.
The apologetics.
The so-called gatekeepers of Weird Fiction.
Mock the big fish in the small pond of Lovecraftian fiction.
Nothing is safe.
Parody as a means to topple to regime.
Spoof the blowhards.
Take anything Lovecraftian and mock the hell out of it.

Payment is $25 and a contributor’s copy for 5-10K word stories. And they repeat, “We do NOT want traditional Lovecraftian fiction.”


  • Born January 25, 1920 – Jerry Maren, leader of The Lollipop Guild – last of the Munchkins.
Jerry Maren

Jerry Maren

(9) BROKEN NEWS. People asked Jim C. Hines what he thought about his name being mentioned in a Breitbart story based on a comment here. He told them in “Fact-Checking for Dummies. And Breitbart.”

This is what rates an article on Breitbart. “Hey, a commenter on the internet said that some unnamed person is talking to a couple of Toronto bookstores and showing them what some of the Sad/Rabid Puppies have said and asking them not to stock said puppies. Oh, and yeah, there’s no actual evidence of it having any effect.”

(10) SOMETHING IN COMMON. George R.R. Martin’s tribute to David Hartwell touched John C. Wright. He sent this note to Martin.

It grieves me that you and I should be at odds over unimportant political matters when science fiction as a genre, and the people in our lives, and much else besides are things we both have in common and outweigh any differences.

The shadow of our mutual loss of a friend sharply reminds me of what is important in life, and mutual ire is not one of those things.

You wrote not long ago of a desire for peace in the science fiction community; I second that sentiment and voice it also. Let there be peace between us.

(11) ELIGIBILITY POSTS. Cat Rambo favors Hugo eligibility posts.

I blogged about it as a result of Twitter conversation with Daniel Older and Shveta Ta; he’s posted his own and I urged people to post links to theirs in my post. Any help spreading the word is appreciated; too many people let themselves get silenced by fear of internet kerfuffles. I’m hoping that puppies feel free to post on there as well; too many people forget that as SFWA President I’m representing a range of writers, not a single crowd.

Rambo introduces the post on her personal blog with these sentiments:

Let us begin by acknowledging that this is a rancorous period, full of clashing agendas, bewildered onlookers, and all too many innocents caught in the crossfire (although it is not the first time we’ve seen these storms, nor will it be the last.). And that right now making an eligibility post particularly mentioning Hugo Award categories like Related Work is something that some of us are circling and wondering about.

And my answer is yes. Yes, you should. Why?

Check the post for her three arguments.

(12) RSR CAMPBELL LIST. Rocket Stack Rank has made a list of new writers whose stories were reviewed on their site who should be eligible for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award.

Here are 62 writers who are eligible for the 2016 Campbell Award. They were selected from the 565 stories reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank and eight other prolific reviewers in 2015. There are many more new writers out there, but their stories weren’t read by Rocket Stack Rank so they’re not included here.

(13) A LONGLIST OF HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. Nerds of a Feather will be posting lists of recommendations drawn from its contributors. First up is the Hugo Award Longlist for fiction.

For the past couple years I’ve posted a draft Hugo ballot (2014, 2015). Last year’s slate voting controversy, however, made me rethink that practice. True, this blog has limited influence within fandom, and we’ve never tried to mobilize voters to further a cause or agenda either. But it still feels strange to call out slate-based voting campaigns while publishing something that looks, superficially at least, like a slate of our own. So instead of giving you my personal ballot, I asked the the thirteen nerds of a feather to contribute to a longlist of potential Hugo nominees.

The rules for inclusion were simple–just: (a) meet the eligibility criteria; and (b) be “award worthy” (i.e. good). Given the subjectivity of the latter, it should come as no surprise that the selections on our longlist reflect the spectrum of tastes, tendencies and predilections found among our group of writers. You’ll find selections ranging from the obscure and literary to the unabashedly popular and commercial, and from all corners and subdivisions of the genresphere

(14) UFO FILES. The Express has a photo-illustrated article, “Some of ‘world’s best ever UFO pictures’ go online with CIA former top secret files”.

The US intelligence agency, often accused by UFO conspiracy theorists of being involved in a major cover up to hide evidence of alien life from the public, has for some reason chosen to upload some of its formerly classified UFO case files to its website.

(15) RETROFUTURISM. Joshua Rothman comments on “The Nostalgic Science Fiction of ‘The X-Files’” in The New Yorker.

Scholars have a term for our fascination with the science fiction of the past: they call it “retrofuturism.” In the “Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction,” Elizabeth Guffey and Kate Lemay offer an elegant definition of the term: “Where futurism is sometimes called a ‘science’ bent on anticipating what will come,” they write, “retrofuturism is the remembering of that anticipation.” Retrofuturism tends to be both celebratory and regretful. On the one hand, the retrofuturist sensibility is drawn to old visions of the future because today’s have lost their appeal; on the other, it recognizes that those old visions had their downsides. Steampunk, for example, is attractive precisely because it rejects the disembodied corporatism of the digital world; still, the vision of the future in the film “Snowpiercer” is both refreshingly analogue and brutally Dickensian. (That’s not to say that retrofuturism is always ambivalent: “Star Wars” is, among other things, an upbeat retrofuturist response to the drug-addled sci-fi of the sixties and seventies.) “The X-Files” was a retrofuturist show. It celebrated the wide-eyed sense, prevalent in the forties, fifties, and sixties, that science was about to change everything. It also recalled the darkness of the Cold War, when individuals felt powerless against vast geopolitical forces, and science brought us to the edge of thermonuclear doom.

Because we live in a moment of reboots, remakes, and revivals, we seem to be surrounded by retrofuturism. Superhero movies, with their emphasis on mad-science mutation, have a retrofuturist appeal. So do the rebooted “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” and “Mad Max.” Even “Interstellar,” in many ways a forward-looking film, also looked back to the sci-fi of the past. If you’re of a theoretical cast of mind, you might wonder what it means to be nostalgic for a retrofuturist show like “The X-Files.” Is it possible, “Inception”-style, to square retrofuturism? Can you look back ambivalently at the way people used to look back ambivalently at a vision of the future?

(16) TV SUCCESS WOULD X-OUT THIRD X-FILES MOVIE. A third X-Files movie has been scripted by Chris Carter – but if the ratings are good for the TV series, he’d prefer to focus on that.

“I actually wrote a third movie, just because I was interested in the idea of where that might go,” Carter told the audience. When Fox approached him about bringing The X-Files back to television, Carter considered repurposing the script for the series. “I let my wife read the third movie,” he shared, “and she said ‘I think not for television.'”

Any chance of a third X-Files film will depend on how strong (or poor) the ratings for the upcoming mini-series are. If the ratings are good, Carter seems more interested it sticking to TV. “I’m waiting for Fox to come back and ask for more,” said Carter. “Then we’ll talk about it.”

And early reports are that ratings for the new show were good.

The preview of the mini-series premiered on Sunday night following the NFC Championship game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers and received strong ratings.

Monday’s debut on the mini-series’ normal night will be the true test, along with the subsequently five episodes. Should that run be as strong as many suspect that it will be, a third film might yet by in the cards

(17) SATIRE NOSTALGIA. The WSJ’s Speakeasy blog remembers “When Mulder and Scully Went to Springfield: An Oral History of the ‘Simpsons’ – ‘X-Files’ Crossover”.

Mike Reiss: We had the most illegal shot in TV history. [The episode has] a line-up of aliens where Homer is supposed to pick out which alien is his. We had Alf, Marvin the Martian, Chewbacca — they were all copyrighted. In one five-second shot, we violated five people’s copyrights. But the only comment we ever got was, we had Alf in there. Alf said “Yo!” and I got a call from the real Alf, who said, “Next time you do me, let me do it.”

(18) REV. BOB CROWNED. Our own Rev. Bob was king for about as long as it takes to boil an egg at the Whoisthekingrightnow site. He’s still searchable as Robert in the Hall of Kings, where his three decrees have been immortalized.

King Bob the Horizontal.

  • The denizens of Sensible Castle do not judge. Unless you’re a jerk.
  • Get thee down. Be thou funky.
  • In case of emergency, the masks that drop from the ceiling will make everyone’s final moments MOST interesting. You’re welcome.

[Thanks to Brian Z., John King Tarpinian, Gregory N. Hullender, and Nick Mamatas for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

Update 01/26/2016: Corrected Rev. Bob’s royal name to the right royal name, with the right decrees.

168 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/25/16 The Depixellated Man

  1. And the Geek Social Fallacies, especially 1&2, strongly discourage speaking up when someone does something hurtful.

  2. @Rev. Bob.

    I can kind of see that. I know I discuss CONvergence in Minneapolis; we had a little bit of a flap last year due to a couple that really sold a Cersei walk of shame cosplay; a great many people thought, with some justice, that it was triggering and over the line, a number of other people had a great time doing it. Information on the participants that I’m inclined to trust was that while they were a pair of shock comics they were people who, in their normal lives, were very aware of triggers, very feminist in their actions and not just social media crap.

    Except having the Con say that it was a mistake brought the battle lines down. The Con was disrespectful to them! It was just an edgy costume and people need a sense of humor! They’d been involved for long enough that they didn’t have to take that crap! I don’t know if the PC police Ruining Fun has been brought up in regards to it yet, but it did seem to be a classic example of any criticism from within geekdom being seen as a personal betrayal or worse – the criticism means that terrible people are making them feel unwelcome.

    Once that kicked in, any expression that the cosplay was a bad idea appears to have became verboten among the people who knew the participants. And to be perfectly honest, the amount of outrage that was do to people being upset by the costumes and the amount due to people wishing CVG hadn’t ended up covered by the Mary Sue looking like idiots probably has its own breakdown.

  3. Anyone planning to go to FOGcon in March? I’ll be there.

    [at least, as long as I can finish the program book illustration for them, since otherwise I won’t dare to show my face]

    [[if the concom is reading this, that was a joke, I am finishing it!!]]

  4. @Simon Bisson
    I agree, The Trials is also going on my list. And/or, if I can get to it, we’ll see about Going Dark. These books are so damn fun, well-written, intelligent, and realistic. The technology legitimately feels real and like this is where we could be in the not-too-distant future.

  5. Hampus Eckerman on January 26, 2016 at 1:53 pm said:

    I think I might bring a sign where it says “Talk to me – win a kinderegg”. I can’t think of anyone who would refuse the chance to win a kinderegg.

    Kinder Surprise Eggs are illegal in the United States. Yes, really. They’re not that hard to find if you want them but they’re illegal to import. That aside, this sounds like a great idea!

    Hampus Eckerman on January 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm said:

    We could also set up standard meeting places. If you are bored or with nothing to do, go to place X and see if there are any wretched filers around to talk with.

    Maybe not interesting for veterans, but nice for us newbies.

    Con suites are a good place to do this at cons that have them. Kaffeeklatches are also a good place to make some acquaintances. You and nine other people and a creator chatting for an hour. You’re supposed to ask questions and talk to them!

    There are other hang-out places besides the bar–lobbies, anywhere with chairs or sofas, the pool sometimes.

    The hashtag for the con can be a good place to find a meal partner if you’ve got Twitter.

  6. Given how seriously some custom agents take the smuggling of Kindereggs, I wonder if there’s a suitable replacement. I’m not really up on the vagaries of customs and I don’t suggest you look into them as it’s the legal equivalent of spaghetti code. (I tried to see if a certain item might incur duties should I have it shipped to me and it was both an enlightening and horrifying experience.) Maybe jelly babies or wine gums or something.

    Just not that salty liquorice. (Salmiak?) No one wants that.

  7. @Hampus Eckerman, you are my new hero, even without a kinderegg prize package. All of your ideas sound good to me and I’d happily participate in any or all, including waving a sign inviting people to talk to me.

    @Simon Bisson and k_choll, that makes at least four of us, then. I love the whole three book series, but The Trials is the one for me.

    (10) SOMETHING IN COMMON – It wasn’t all that long ago that I could claim never to have heard of John C. Wright, and I would like to go back there. I’ve visited that locale often enough to know there’s nothing there to see.

    (13) A LONG LIST – There was some fiction there I hadn’t heard of before, so that’s good.

  8. @PeterJ: And a huzzah from me for Frances Hardinge. The Lie Tree is wonderful (although personally I still think I prefer Cuckoo Song) and she was in the right place at the right time – Kate Atkinson’s fantastic A God in Ruins might well have won had she not won the previous year, which I suspect counted against her.
    That’s nothing against Frances, of course; she absolutely deserves her success, and it’s good to remind people that just because a book is classed as YA doesn’t mean it is somehow a lesser work.

  9. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Jim Macdonald wrote a comment on Making Light a few years back about The Two Magicians, that I think you might appreciate:

    Have I mentioned how annoyed I am with The Two Magicians?

    So, let’s add a new last stanza:

    She became a roadrunner
    According to the text
    And he became a coyote
    And you know what happened next.

    And good for you for standing up against the unmodified song.

  10. I will be at Boskone. I’ll probably be stapling program books downstairs on Thursday night. That seems to have become my default pre-con volunteer task. I’ll also be manning the MidAmeriCon 2 table at times. And, I’m told, helping at the WSFS party. When I see the program schedule I’ll know more about when I’ll be where.

  11. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf,

    Hi! I am really sorry to hear about that experience in the filk room. I know and love that song (it was one of my first exposures to folk rock and Child ballads back in the dim distant days of my college career), but I hope that I’d have been able to stand up with you when you protested and say something like “Yeah, that is messed up. It’s traditional, but it’s still messed up.” I also know a variant where the coal black smith ends up getting less balls-y, if you know what I mean. Alas, I don’t have my iPod handy to check which variant that is, but it’s a great palate cleanser for the rape-y overtones of the original song.

  12. Vasha on January 26, 2016 at 1:39 pm said:
    Thank you very much Nicole for standing up. And thus encouraged I’m going to talk about a story that was enthusiastically recommended by a couple of people yesterday, “A Dry Quiet War”, and say that I really really didn’t like how it used the rape of the main character’s girlfriend to motivate him.

    Vasha, I was the one who recommended it, and you’re right: I should have included a warning about the rape.

  13. RE Hugo nominating, I’ve bounced off about half a dozen much-recommended 2015 sf/f novels (bounced off one just last night, in fact), and was feeling discouraged–but I’ve started THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET and am so far enjoying it. I don’t think I’d even have heard of it if not for File 770, since I don’t recall seeing it discussed anywhere else. So, thanks, folks!

  14. Ken Josenhans wrote:

    (I don’t know how one crosses the name barrier. In the fanzine days, most everyone used their real name. For understandable reasons, most online activity takes place with handles. The only Filer I recognized & greeted at Confusion was real-name-wielder Laura Resnick, at the autograph session. For File 770, perhaps there should be badge ribbons.)

    A lot of conventions let you put your “fan name” on you badge. For those that don’t, I always write “Xtifr” on a piece of tape or something, and stick it somewhere discreetly on the badge. There are people who’ve known me for decades as “Xtifr”, and many of them have no clue (or have completely forgotten) what my mundane name is.

  15. For File 770, perhaps there should be badge ribbons.

    Can they come in two colors, one for FILE 770 SCUM and one for FILE 770 VILLAIN?

  16. @Eli – thanks! I’ll check that out when I’m at my computer again.

    @Laura Resnick – Watchmaker is near the top of my TBR pile now. I just started Planetfall, which is good so far.

    All this talk of meetups makes me want to go to a con. I used to do APE, Wondercon, and SD Comic-con every year, for about a decade, but I haven’t been to one in years now, and never attended a SFF fest. And y’all are fun people.

  17. Thank you Heather Rose Jones for the most amusing story! I had been missing some good 17th-century swordplay.

  18. @Soon Lee, thanks. To be clear I wasn’t so much objecting to the presence of sexual violence in thw story as to the way it was used solely to motivate the male main character.

  19. Cassy B

    (Also, I would squee all over our Crimson Marsupial to the extent that they might need to find a mop and bucket to remove the excess squee.

    Frankly, I’m amazed that Mike would allow any comment on bookkake through his moderation…

  20. @Greg Hullender

    Staples will do them for you – a lot of office supply stores or printers will.

  21. Con suites are a good place to do this at cons that have them. Kaffeeklatches are also a good place to make some acquaintances.

    Author readings are also good places to meet people. Unfortunately, they are often not very well attended (especially if they are scheduled in the morning) so the social pressure is smaller. Plus, after the reading there is something to talk about with people. Also, authors really appreciate when people come to their readings.

  22. Greg Hullender: The ribbons I see most often at conventions are the 1-5/8″ x 4″ horizontal ribbons; if you do a websearch for “badge ribbons” you’ll find lots of people willing to print them, in all sorts of ribbon colors, ink colors, fonts, custom art….

  23. In my experience, the cons tend to to only step in if the ribbon printer has done something phenomenally stupid with regards to the content of the ribbon.

  24. More random ideas for convention socializing…

    One of the techniques I developed when going to academic conferences is to come up with one question for someone at each presentation I attended, then during the social time later, I’d have a concrete reason to go up to them and say something along the lines of, “I was interested in what you said about X, and I was curious if you’d ever considered it in the context of Y.”

    Convention panels never exhaust the subject at hand, so there will always be some loose thread you can use to pick up the conversation later. Another source of ice-breakers are the bios of the panelists in the program book. Find someone whose interests sound intriguing, identify a panel they’ll be on, then lurk afterward to ask them about something your interests intersect on.

    It’s not 100% guaranteed. A particular panelist may have to dash off immediately to some other commitment just when you had gotten up your nerve to approach them. And if you decide to try your ice-breaker on someone that everyone else wants to talk to, you may be less successful. It helps to decide that your “win condition” is to interact with someone–anyone–not necessarily with a specific person. And it’s still hard work. It never stops being that.

    The long game is to start building up a body of people that you’ve interacted with so that you feel less of a bar to talking to them again the next time.

  25. Greg: While there are some official convention ribbons (“Staff” “Guest of Honor” “Gopher” “Art Show” etc.), most are given out by J. Random Congoer. Some are available for the asking, some for trade, some by affiliation, some for completing a task (I, for instance, give out a ribbon to the person who lost by the most at tabletop games I play. A consolation prize.) Sometimes ribbons are simply put on the freebie table for fans to take (for some reason I’ve seen that more with memorial ribbons than any other sort). I know a couple of conventions who sell ribbons advertising their con to presupporters for a nominal fee. The trick is figuring out who is giving out the ribbon(s) you’re looking for and then tracking them down….

    I’ve only ever heard of one case in which a convention stepped in about ribbons, and that’s because they judged them offensive.

  26. Baycon one year had a Captain Jack Sparrow on a quest to collect 100 souls – aka hand out 100 ribbons that said your soul had been collected.

    That was the year I was Captain Jack Harkness 🙂

  27. Laura Resnick: I’ve started THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET and am so far enjoying it.

    I will be interested in hearing your impressions after you’ve read it, given your experiences with a certain horrible editor.

  28. ULTRAGOTHA: Con suites are a good place to do this at cons that have them.

    Sasquan’s was a really tiny room. It was always packed (when I say “packed”, I mean maybe 20 people, because that’s all it could hold), claustrophobic and hotter than hell. I hope that MAC II’s consuite will be much larger.

  29. k_choll, Simon Bisson, Cheryl S:
    I agree, The Trials is also on my Hugo longlist (and probably shortlist).

  30. The consuite at MACII will apparently be in the exhibition space. I don’t know how big it will be, but I do know at least some of the people who are going to be running it, and in previous conventions they’ve been very much about feeding the fans (and they’ve been pretty good about having options for the most common dietary restrictions, too). They’re very much in the Midwestern con tradition of the consuite as a gathering place. Since the exhibition space is several acres, they can physically have a pretty large space, but I don’t know what kinds of limitations the exhibition space will place on them. (At Chicon, for instance, consuite was literally not allowed to plug anything in. At all. Even coffeepots. There was a set of gophers who did nothing but shuttle empty coffee carafes up 30-odd floors, and full ones down). I hope and trust that MACII won’t have that kind of problem to work around!

  31. Sasquan’s consuite, and staff suite, were a series of rooms, not just one. But yeah, crowded and not big enough to do much socializing.

  32. Feel free to come up to me at conventions and say “howdy”. In the next two months, I know I’ll be at Farpoint, Boskone, and Lunacon. And depending on plane tickets and scheduling, Wondercon. That gets me up to Easter, right…?

  33. BoF* meetings are what Filers should set up. You get a small function space room, it’s mentioned in the program, and it’s not too crowded as long as you’re not a BoF for Star Wars or Doctor Who or whatever. They can be scheduled with little notice. One person just contacts the programming maven and says “I want to do a BoF for (topic), how’s about (day/time)?”

    (Nobody suggested this before me? You guys don’t have those at your cons as a regular feature? They’re at all the ones I go to, have been for years. Often in the same space but different time as the religious services and AA meetings.)

    Con suites are usually too crowded with other people hanging out or getting refreshments, and often noisy. Plus no reserved seating.

    Dinner the night before the con opens is also good — doesn’t interfere with neat programming, and then you know people for the rest of the time.

    Failing that, badge ribbons are THE thing to proclaim your allegiances.

    Do we have enough Filers to do one at Baycon, or at least get ribbons?

    *Birds of a Feather.

  34. Oh, and I’m also going to Silicon Valley Comic Con, which I expect will be a TOTAL ZOO. Might be nice to meet up with some people who sit quietly in a corner and talk about books.

  35. Caveat with buttonholing panelists after a panel — DON’T do it in the front of the room. Do it in the hall outside so the next panel can get started, unless the room is free after the panel.

    Also, sign up for kaffeeklatches at the beginning of the con — a group of ten fans and one author is a lot less intimidating than breaking into a random group, and there is a ready-made topic of conversation and questioning.

    I will also be at Boskone, hanging out in the Art Show — assuming there is not another Snowzilla.

  36. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf:

    Oh, God, the Two Magicians. AKA “Hit the skip button on the Steeleye Span CD”. I LOVE traditional folk music, but there’s a whole lot of them that are problematic, and that one done straight is definitely one of the worst. And I never saw the appeal as a piece of music, the tune just never did it for me.

    Kudos to you for trying to stand up, and I’m sorry nobody at least acknowledged, much less validated, your reaction at the time.

    I’ve seen online discussions asking whether people should use content warnings for songs in filk circles (or ban certain topics), and that one was specifically cited, so clearly it isn’t just you and you aren’t the first.


    Thanks to all for the comments on “One big happy family”. It’s rankled before (Not least because of the “That’s just crazy uncle Lou” syndrome that the idea of family ALSO conveys.) but you’ve articulated something I hadn’t been able to about the other reasons it’s an issue to say that to a newcomer.

    It’s amazing just how many introverts are present in fandom — who look from the outside like they’re the most clever outgoing socially adept people. It’s an important reminder to both sides; the ones already inside but faking their social skills as well as the ones outside who haven’t even got already established friends to lean on to fake it with. The ones on the outside need to know that the ones “one the inside” aren’t as secure as they look, and sometimes what’s underneath what looks like a smooth talker who is being deliberately not welcoming is another shy person who doesn’t know how they are coming across.

    And it is vitally important to remind shy people on the inside that they are, in fact, in possession of safety nets that newbies are not, and that if they regularly end up back in their room feeling like everyone hates them, then newbies do the same, but with fewer actual friends to hand to help when they try to be social. (This is not directed at anyone here, but at a memorable remark by a big name person who seemed to miss that point entirely. So far, the shy insiders here seem to grok it.)


    I think the issue with the fanfiction remark is in large part that it implies an either-or; either you are writing for publication, or you are writing fanfic. You cannot write both.

    Which is true on a work-by-work basis. This story is fanfic, this story is original fic, the difference is pretty clear.

    It ignores people who are STILL doing both. (Naomi Novik writes fanfic. Naomi Novik writes really smutty, mostly m/m fanfic. In some very unlikely fandoms.)

    And just as some people find sonnets harder to write than free verse, and some people are the opposite, I think which is harder might vary more than many people think. I find fanfic harder, because I can’t change my mind about how a character would react, and write her a new scene, if that character is Buffy Summers, the way I can with a character nobody has heard of (yet). I can’t alter the layout of the Serenity. Saying having that done for you is “training wheels” is … something I have never really fully grasped. Isn’t it so much easier to make your own vision?

  37. @ BethZ

    Caveat with buttonholing panelists after a panel

    Oh, yes — I can’t believe I didn’t emphasize that part! And I’ll second the kaffeeklatches recommendation. It gives you a small-group context where the whole idea is a chance to talk to someone who would love you to talk to them. (As a little-known author who has done kaffeeklatches, believe me, you will have my undivided attention and love if you show up for one.)

  38. @ JJ:

    I will be interested in hearing your impressions after you’ve read it, given your experiences with a certain horrible editor.

    Oh, dear. Am I going to have flashbacks, and need chocolate and hugs?

  39. Heather Rose Jones: As a little-known author who has done kaffeeklatches, believe me, you will have my undivided attention and love if you show up for one.

    I love kaffeeklatches. They are such a small, friendly environment. You don’t feel as though you’re imposing on the author — they’ve volunteered to be there with you. And the 45-50 minute time span is enough for people to chat and ask questions and get comfortable with each other.

    One thing I will say: if you’re an author or aspiring author, please don’t show up to another author’s kaffeeklatch and hand out bookmarks or anything else promoting your own work, and don’t monopolize the conversation talking about yourself or your work (I’ve had this happen a couple of times in kaffeeklatches I attended). It’s extremely rude, and it pisses off the other people who are there to hear from the author — not you — so you are likely doing your career more harm than good.

  40. Laura Resnick: Oh, dear. Am I going to have flashbacks, and need chocolate and hugs?

    If so, I will be happy to FedEx them to you, along with a large selection of Evil Cat toys. 😉

    A lot of people here didn’t get from the book what I got (though some did). I will be interested to hear what you get.

  41. What I’m about to say is NOT in any way a reflection on the initial post by a newcomer who didn’t find ConFusion very welcoming. I’m just joining in the general topic, NOT attempting to say “it’s that way for EVERYONE” or anything like that.

    Since I’ve been published in sf/f for over 20 years, related to a well-known sf/f writer, and have been around fandom (on and off) since childhood, it might be assumed, if anyone ever thought about it (which I doubt), that I have that “we’re a family!” feeling at cons and spend time with many friends there, etc.

    In reality, though, I usually know very few people at cons–to such an extent that I often eat my meals alone in my room at cons and spend most of my free time by myself. This means that cons aren’t really that fun for me, so I don’t go to many; not going to many means that I don’t meet and get to know many people at cons; which further reinforces not having friends at cons; etc.

    So I tend to stick to a very small number of conventions where I typically know a number of regular attendees (ConFusion, WindyCon, MillenniCon… I’m running out of names..)–and even at those, it’s not unusual for me to eat alone, wander around alone, etc. And apart from those cons, I often find cons very uncomfortable, because I don’t know anyone, and attendees are all gathered with their friends and hanging out with people they already know.

    I’m not unusually shy (though, like many writers and readers, yes, I’m a little shy), and I have decent social skills, and I’m fairly self-confident. But I nonetheless often feel very comfortable and isolated at cons. So, yes, I think it would be hard work and challenging and not necessarily fun to attend a con as a newcomer who doesn’t know anyone–and, yep, even harder if you’re in a wheelchair, or sight impaired, or dealing with any physical challenge that adds an extra layer to navigating the territory.

  42. Laura Resnick: In reality, though, I usually know very few people at cons – to such an extent that I often eat my meals alone in my room at cons and spend most of my free time by myself.

    I wish I’d known that at Chicon. I spent much of my time there the same way, and it was such a pleasure to get to meet you and enjoy your rapier-like wit at Shahid’s dinner, which I was lucky enough to attend as someone’s guest.

    Ah, well. If you ever do Worldcon again, I will make a point of setting up a dinner with you ahead of time. 😀

  43. Hi all,

    I organized the Making Light meetups at Sasquan last year. I was anxious about volunteering, but I figured it would be a good way to meet people I shared interests with. If you’d like to see how my event planning unfolded, take a look at the ML August 6 and 15 threads. My biggest rec: if you are going out for dinner, sort out the restaurant in advance. I wanted to try and reduce barriers to participation, so I made sure to ask about accessibility, GF/vegetarian/vegan options, and noise level.

    I had fun, and I think other people did too. HRJ & JJ, it was nice to meet you and I hope we can do so again at some point.

Comments are closed.